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Monday, November 20, 2006

A Day To Celebrate Dead

A drizzling rain falls like tears on the Mourning Day;
The mourner's heart is going to break on his way.
Where can a wineshop be found to drown his sad hours?
A cowherd points to a cot 'mid apricot flowers. - Du Mu

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A day between October 31 to November 2 is celebrated in parts of Latin America and Asia as a day to commemorate those who passed away. Día de los Muertos was an Aztec custom originally and is a national holiday in Mexico now.

It is not a day to mourn, rather to celebrate life. Death for them is continuation of life. Graves and graveyards are cleaned up, families bring flowers for the dead, toys for the young ones. It is a day to joyfully remember the deceased.
``We can't fear death,'' said Sylvia Ornelas, a member of Teatro Familia Aztlan, a theater group that does plays for Day of the Dead and whose members included the friendly skeleton playing with the children at the festival.
``Death is a shared destiny,'' Ornelas said. ``When you can recognize that, you can celebrate life.''Leslie Griffy

Friends and family recall the wonderful memories and good times they had. Mariachi bands play songs, tequila is imbued. If there are poets in the family they write calaveras "short poems mocking epitaphs."

It is also a national holiday in Brazil. In Phillipines this is called Araw ng mga Patay. In both countries it is celebrated more solemnly than in Mexico. In Poland this is called Zaduski

The Chinese have Qing Ming Festival which is veneration of the ancestors. It is usually celebrated in early April.

And here the Roman Catholics celebrate All Saints Day on November 2.

The sub-continental Muslims celebrate Shab e Barat, in mid Sha’baan with a twist. They visit the graveyards to offer prayers for the deceased. I don't know if there is a similar event in Hinduism.

Death and Life are part of the same cycle. We live to die: die to live.

bird on a leafless tree branch
musing rumi like
undaunted by warring truths

each person's truth
estranged in a cacophony
unabashed, proudly owned
wandering friendless in sky

the sun rays denied comfort

truth, volition and violation
owned by zealots
in the company of living
smile at death
the surviving truth - fullmoon blanket


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